It's finally a "Bill Maher election." And by that I mean it's a year of new rules — to borrow from Real Time — largely rewritten by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. No one thought a politician could survive, much less stay in the lead for as long as Trump has, based on a campaign of braggadocio and utter contempt for political correctness. But the younger generation is leading a movement to prize authenticity above all. Trump is a petulant child, but at least that's real, they seem to be saying. Bernie, too, is as real as real gets. (So real he doesn't even own a comb.)...ADDED: You might not have wanted to wade through that much Bill Maher. It's in rant mode, obviously, necessarily. It's Bill Maher. Political comedians seem to need to use this mode. So let me pull out the part where he pretty much agrees with Trump — after a few disclaimers — on the subject of the Syrian refugees:
Forty countries in the world have some version of Sharia law. I just don't understand how liberals who fought the battle for civil rights in the '60s, fought against apartheid in the '80s, can then just simply ignore Sharia law in 40 countries. Apartheid was only in one. I am not anti-Muslim and never have been: I am anti-bad ideas. Killing cartoonists and apostates, these are terrible ideas and practices, and it would be lovely to think that they were confined only to terrorists. They unfortunately are not.And by the way — as Trump says when he segues to his next thought — doesn't Maher's flow of ideas resemble Trump's approach to campaign oration. Trump — who's been on TV a lot — does comedy some of the time... much of the time. He has great comic timing, and part of the timing is choosing when to dip into comedy, when to go all in and when to be ambiguously serio-comic. People who like him go with the flow and enjoy it. Maybe they enjoy the daring things he gets to say, maybe they're comfortable with ambiguity, and maybe they agree with even the most extreme things. It's complicated. It's unexpected. It's entertainment. Those who hate Trump have a lower panic point: The President can't be a comedian! Or they don't like Trump's political bent, wouldn't like it even if the style was conventional, and they hate to see the conservative side finding a way to win.
Not to be an "I told ya so," but when the Syrian refugee crisis happened, I said, "Certainly our hearts go out to these refugees, but the answer can't be to empty Syria and every other country in the Middle East where people live under repressive conditions and bring them all to Europe." Now Sweden is sending 80,000 refugees back and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is saying, "Hey, when we said you could come here, we didn't mean permanently."
Rather than letting them settle in Germany, these millions of young Muslim men, how about let's train them to go back and fight for their own country? That’s another one of my issues — the soft bigotry of low expectations. How come Saudi Arabia didn't take in any Syrian refugees? I would think they’d fit in there a little more than in Cologne. Why don't they fight their own battles? Why are Muslim armies so useless against ISIS? ISIS isn't 10 feet tall. There are 20,000 or 30,000 of them. The countries surrounding ISIS have armies totaling 5 million people. So why do we have to be the ones leading the fight? Or be in the fight at all?
So no, Donald Trump is not right — but he will win the election if the American people have to choose between his demagoguery and a party that won't even say the words "Islamic terrorism." I think the Democrats could lose on that issue alone, especially if there's another attack.